A letter to my son upon his high school graduation. So proud of him!
Love is not easy to put into words, especially a mother’s love, the depth of which is unfathomable.
When I look at you now, tall and strong, I don’t just see an eighteen-year-old man, I see you in all of your life’s stages at once. I see you as a newborn in my arms in the shadows of midnight, a blur of blonde hair racing down the stairs in Barney pajamas on Christmas morning, the navy shorts and pressed white shirt of a first grader not sure why he has to go to school, the tender realization in your eight-year-old blue eyes that stealing the puck was okay in roller hockey. (Who knew that sharing with others didn’t apply in sports?)
I remember the white pooka beads and Hawaiian shirts that heralded the onset of middle school, basketball and volleyball uniforms, a well-worn back pack and a handful of snacks on trains through Europe, the royal blue gown of an 8th grade graduate, the proud captain of your high school volleyball team, and now, a man.
As much as a mother raises her son, so does a son raise his mother. You have taught me many things as I have watched you grow. From you I have learned the power of a tender heart as I have witnessed your quiet kindness to others all of your life. (Though there was that rough patch when you were three and almost asked to leave Debbie’s Daycare when you knocked over the boy who kept stealing your matchbox cars ) Your teachers throughout grade school always remarked about your concern for the feelings of other children. You attract friends wherever you go, and you are loyal to them.
You taught me how to find joy in the moment. You have the gift of turning the mundane into amusement. You see subtext and comic irony in the world around you. Your wry humor is a constant source of delight that lightens our days. It reminds us to relax and not take everything so seriously. I will miss this tremendously when you go to college. Who will alert me to the new, must see, You tube videos?
And you taught me about courage. Our family life has been marked by transition, and you have endured many relocations from a young age. In your 18 years you have had seven homes and attended five schools. Change has been constant. Anyone who has moved knows that it is never without trial. You have navigated these changes with elegance, courage, acceptance, and again humor, when all else failed. It has been remarkable to watch. You are stronger than you know.
You have a natural tenacity and ability to accept life as it unfolds. This is a skill that will serve you well in the years to come, because life is about transformation, a decades long process of becoming. There are chapters, but no destinations. And if you are able to visualize each stage as having a beginning, middle, and end it will be easier to recognize God’s plan for you as He chooses to reveal it. His plan is rarely the same one that we envision for ourselves, so, in the years to come, as you are surprised or sidelined unexpectedly or sent in directions unanticipated, remember that it is unfolding as it should be. That’s when you will appreciate your already sharpened abilities to navigate change.
Each chapter has a specific lesson that God, in His all knowing wisdom, sees that you must learn. Painful chapters draw us near to Him, and joyful chapters illuminate the glory and wonder of our world. Both are important.
Matt, I love you. You are the son that every mother dreams of having. I could not be more thankful for you and proud of the man you have become. Your character and integrity are important to you. You are finding your voice and moving forward in positions of leadership. God will rely on you to use that leadership to model the qualities of a good, honest and loving man. You have been blessed with height and people will have to look up to you during your lifetime, the important thing is to make them want to.
A faith journey is a daily one. It is vital to see our moral choices, both grave and not, as turning points. Your choices will lead you closer to God or further from Him. Lead you down a path toward a peaceful heart or a troubled one. No choice is made in secret as God is always with you. Choose wisely and you will live without regret, because real and lasting happiness has nothing to do with material possessions, it is a result of living your values, even when it is difficult. Even when choosing to stand for what is right means that you will lose friends or perhaps a job/position.
This gift of clear sightedness, to recognize the path that supports your values is the prayer that I will pray for you every day as you move forward into the world. Sometimes it is not so easy to discern. We live in a world that rewards bad behavior in order to boost media ratings. A world that teaches athletes and leaders that there is some private permission to behave immorally because of their position. The temptations that come with success are real. The fallout of those lifestyles ruin families and deeply scar those closest to them. The most powerful leaders, the ones who affect real change, are the ones who choose to lead their families in the ways of love that strengthen the home and thus the community.
Senior year is a year of letting go, when motherhood becomes a complicated mixture of pushing you forward and holding you back. Every day I cry a few tears as I get used to the idea of your moving on from our home, but at the same time, I am so excited for you to embrace this next phase of life. Have fun, work hard, and enjoy every single day.
I am in your corner, your loudest cheerleader, and proudest Mother at Brophy College Prep ~ Love, Mom
(Posted with permission!)